What goes good over tung oil?

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Forum topic by ToddTurner posted 01-24-2012 03:03 AM 21203 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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144 posts in 3525 days

01-24-2012 03:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tung finish spray poly finishing

I have just completed a small table. It is special because of many reasons and i will post it when its finished. Special because (1) it is for my wifes new office, and (2) it is all new to me. Every psrt of the table is something i have little or no experience with including the finish, which is my weakness. I decided to use tung oil. I wiped on (and off) 2 coats oftung oil on it today and it really woke up the colors and grains. Is it okay to spray water-based clear coat on top of tung? I use the Minwax poly crylic
Whats your experience with tung oil? I like the water bourne clear coating stuff for easy clean up but im not opposed to using whatever goes best to achieve a smooth luster. Thanks fellow jocks!!!

9 replies so far

View Manitario's profile


2681 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 01-24-2012 03:12 AM

pure tung oil or the minwax brand tung oil? I can’t comment about pure tung oil, but the “tung oil” that can be bought at most big box stores is simply a varnish/oil blend similar to Danish oil. In fact, most of the stuff labelled “tung oil” isn’t even tung oil based. I have no experience with the water based poly, but the regular minwax wipe on poly will go fine as a top coat.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2563 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 03:17 AM

What specific product did you use? Just because the label says “Tung Oil” doesn’t mean that tung oil is in the formula.

Generally, if a drying oil is fully polymerized, you can top coat with waterborne poly without a problem.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View JPZ's profile


17 posts in 2678 days

#3 posted 01-24-2012 03:29 AM

Great question! I have never heard of any topcoat for tung oil. I’ve always enjoyed working with tung as it is so easy to apply and can be recoated every year or so. I know it’s a slow drying finish and I would suggest you hold off on applying anything until the finishing experts address this one.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6303 posts in 3396 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 03:47 AM

I have a formul that I’ve used for years, and it works pretty good for all my projects…I use “pure” 100% t.o., and use 50% tung oil, 50% mineral spirits, and 50% polyerthane all mixed together….you get the best of both worlds that way..the mineral spirits is a drying agent, and if needed, you can add a little more for faster drying, but don’t cut it too can add several coats if need be to get the look you want…...

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....!!

View ToddTurner's profile


144 posts in 3525 days

#5 posted 01-25-2012 12:03 AM

Hey guys thanks for the good useful feedback. Im using pure tung oil. Looks like i have a few options here that i wasnt aware of. I may even elect to use only tung oil. It looks nice now.

View Weaver's profile


17 posts in 2538 days

#6 posted 01-25-2012 12:34 AM

I’ve used pure tung oil on a few projects, and i have to say i really enjoy deep color it brings out.
from what i’ve read, it needs to cure for 30 days. (the waiting drives me nuts) but when it is done it looks great.
I have also applied a coat of Johnson’s paste wax after it cures… mainly because i love it way it makes the piece feel/look.

-- Ken, Pennsylvania

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 3041 days

#7 posted 01-25-2012 02:13 AM

You can still use a 1 lb cut of shellac. You will have to use the french polish method. I would first wipe the project down with denatured alcohol. Then proceed with the french polish. BLO is a great simple finish but will not last long. The BLO – mineral spirit – Poly mix is a great idea.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6303 posts in 3396 days

#8 posted 01-25-2012 02:28 AM


I have also just used pure tung oil only, but as you already know, you have to mix it w/ mineral sprits or it’ll never dry….without using m.s., it will stay tacky and sticky forever….:) It all depends on what I’m suing it for, like putting 2-3 coats on my shop furniture and jigs… works great there, too….The BLO——mineral spirits——tung oil formula that superdav721 mentioned is also very good…..thanks superdav…I forgot about that mix…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....!!

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2518 days

#9 posted 01-25-2012 03:24 AM

When in doubt, dewaxed shellac will adhere to almost all other finishes. It’s a lifesaver for those doing restoration work. It is also a good sealer for use under other finishes so you can apply a coat of shellac then finish the project with your favorite topcoat.

-- See my work at and

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